Civil Air Patrol
  • Aircrew returing to base

Awards and camaraderie highlight an evening at Upper Montgomery’s annual banquet

April 28, 2019 — DAMASCUS, Md. — Upper Montgomery Composite Squadron, a unit of the Maryland Wing, Civil Air Patrol, recently held their annual awards banquet. Festivities were held at the Montgomery United Methodist Church in Damascus, Md. The evening provided opportunities for members and their families to become more familiar with CAP’s programs, services and professional opportunities as well as to socialize.  Complementing the evening’s activities was a wonderful dinner provided by Il Porto restaurant of Germantown, Md., which was enjoyed by all.

Maj. John Strong, Group I commander, and Maj. Steve Weinhold, Group I deputy commander, were in attendance. Lt. Shane Owens of the Salvation Army took the opportunity to speak about the importance of camaraderie within the Salvation Army and Civil Air Patrol and how it benefits today’s youth and our community.

Capt. Kevin Chan, squadron commander, and Cadet 1st Lt. Katherine Weinhold highlighted the unit and its members success, resilience and achievements. During the awards portion of the banquet, several members received recognition for their achievements and squadron support.

Members receiving promotions included:

  • Cadet Airman Basic Jacob O’Neal – the Maj. Gen. John F. Curry award and promotion to Cadet Airman;
  • Cadet Airman Jules Nakpil – the Gen. Hap Arnold award and promotion to Cadet Airman First Class;
  • Cadet Technical Sgt. Oumar Makalou – the Charles Lindbergh award and promotion to Cadet Master Sgt.; and
  • Senior Member Sherry Moitoza, joined CAP in February 2019, was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.

Cadet specific awards included Cadet Sr. Airman Luke Moitoza, who was recognized as the Cadet Airman of the Year, Cadet Staff Sgt. Albert Efermov, who was the recipient of the squadron’s Spirit Award, and Cadet Joshua Choo received the squadron’s Best Military Bearing Award.

The Cadet Commander’s North Star Award was presented to Cadet Staff Sgt. Abigail Wilson. This new award provides the squadron’s cadet commander the opportunity to recognize a cadet who has shown consistent reliability and willingness to accept challenges while surpassing expectations.

Maj. James Novitsky was recognized by the squadron cadet cadre for his dedication and commitment to teaching aerospace education at every opportunity whether in a school cafeteria, a cramped one room community area or the squadron’s new home-base at the Salvation Army facility.

CAP’s community service ribbon, which is awarded to members for 60 hours of community service outside of their CAP environment, was presented to Cadet Sr. Airman Luke Moitoza. He also was awarded a recruiting ribbon for sponsoring two new cadets into the squadron.

Special awards were also included in the evening ceremonies. Through an outstanding partnership with the Air Force Sergeants Association (AFSA), CAP squadrons are permitted to nominate one cadet for the annual Air Force Sergeants Association Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year Award. This award recognizes an enlisted cadet at the squadron level for exceptionally meritorious service or exceptionally outstanding achievement. This year, Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Mathew Chua received this award.

Additionally, the Air Force Association (AFA) supports CAP cadet recognition with the annual AFA Civil Air Patrol Outstanding Squadron Cadet of the Year Award which is presented to one cadet officer. This year’s recipient is Cadet 1st Lt. Katherine Weinhold.

Upper Montgomery Composite Squadron meets each Thursday from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Salvation Army building at 20021 Aircraft Drive, Germantown, Md. Visitors are always welcomed. Follow the squadron on Face book at

Nearly 1,500 members serve in Civil Air Patrol’s Maryland Wing. Last year, wing members flew 13 actual search and rescue missions. Overall, the Maryland Wing flew 32 missions for the State of Maryland, flying 2,245 hours in all mission categories, and was credited with four finds. Volunteers contributed services estimated at $4.6 million. For more information, contact the Maryland Wing at  or follow the wing on Facebook at

Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 61,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. In addition, CAP plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to over 26,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit or for more information.


Photos (left to right):

C/1st Lt. Weinhold presents the squadron’s Certificate of Appreciation to Salvation Army, Lt. Shane Owens.

C/1st Lt. Weinhold presents the squadron’s first Cadet Commander’s North Star award to C/SSgt Abigail Wilson.

Montgomery squadron members capture the opportunity for a photo with Maj. John Strong, Group I commander.

Capt. Sherrie Weinhold, CAP
Public Affairs Officer, Upper Montgomery Composite Squadron

© 2015 Maryland Wing. All rights reserved. | Web hosting provided by Dreamhost